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Murray hopes Mauresmo split not seen as failure for women

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ROME (AP) Andy Murray hopes his split with Amelie Mauresmo isn’t seen as a failure for women coaching top players.

The British star improved as a clay-court player under Mauresmo but failed to add to his collection of Grand Slam titles.

“It did work. For two years the results that we had were good,” Murray said at the Italian Open on Tuesday, a day after the breakup was announced. “Maybe unless I win a Grand Slam, then maybe ultimately that’s how people may judge whether it worked or not, but when she first came into the team, I was really struggling.”

Murray became the first high-profile tennis player to hire a woman as a coach when he took on Mauresmo in June 2014. He won his first clay-court titles last year in Munich and Madrid.

Murray was asked if he thought the split would hurt the idea of women coaching men.

“When she came on board, my results actually really picked up,” Murray added. “I mean, for me, the time we spent together was positive. It’s just a shame I wasn’t able to win one of the major events, because that’s what both of us wanted.

“Roger (Federer) stopped working with Stefan Edberg at the end of last year because Stefan Edberg wanted to spend more time with his family. … No one sort of batted an eyelid about that,” Murray said.

Mauresmo said Monday that “dedicating enough time along with the travel has been a challenge for me.” The Frenchwoman gave birth to her first child in August and took six months off from coaching.

Murray has also been coached by his mother, Judy.

“So, in my opinion, it’s nothing to do with Amelie being a woman,” Murray added. “It’s the case of it takes a lot of time to do the job well and properly. It’s not easy to do that for four, five years in a row.”

With the French Open starting in 12 days, Murray doesn’t have an immediate replacement.

“I haven’t really thought too much about a new coach,” he said. “It’s something that I will speak to my team about over the next few weeks and try and find something that works. I want it to work long term, so I will take that into consideration as well.”

Having lost the Madrid Open final last Sunday to Novak Djokovic, Murray dropped to No. 3 in the rankings behind Federer. Federer and Murray have the same number of points but Federer has a better record in the big events.

Murray’s performance in Rome represents his only chance to regain the No. 2 ranking ahead of Roland Garros.

“It would be nice if I could get to 2 again,” Murray said. “But if not, then yeah, it’s not something I’m going into this week worrying too much about.”

After a first-round bye, Murray’s opening match at the Foro Italico will be against Kazakh qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin on Wednesday.

Last year, Murray lost in the third round while Federer lost the final to Djokovic.

Muguruza advances to Pan Pacific Open semis

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TOKYO — Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza advanced to the semifinals of the Pan Pacific Open by beating Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-4 Friday.

A rare double-fault by the top-seeded Muguruza allowed Garcia to pull even at 3-3 in the second set, but the Spaniard broke back in the next game.

Playing in her first tournament since earning the No. 1 ranking, Muguruza will next face Caroline Wozniacki. The former top-ranked Dane advanced when Dominika Cibulkova was forced to retire with a right thigh injury while trailing 3-6, 7-6 (5), 3-1.

Also, Angelique Kerber upset second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5), 7-5. The seventh-seeded Kerber took advantage of several unforced errors by the Czech player and won with a powerful cross-court shot on her fifth match point.

Kerber will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinals. The Russian beat Barbora Strycova 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Goffin falls to Paire at Moselle Open

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METZ, France — French player Benoit Paire came out on top of a tight battle with David Goffin to reach the semifinals of the Moselle Open on Friday after saving one match point.

Paire edged the 2014 champion 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-6 (7) after nearly 2 1/2 hours at the indoor tournament.

Goffin led 4-2 in the decider and failed to convert a match point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker.

Paire will next be up against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

The other semifinal will pit Mischa Zverev against qualifier Peter Gojowczyk.

The fifth-seeded Zverev defeated lucky loser Kenny de Schepper 7-5, 7-6 (4) while the 95th-ranked Gojowczyk needed less than one hour to beat Marius Copil 6-2, 6-4.